How to Protect Your Steam Account: All-in-One Guide For Gamers
Most PC gamers are familiar with Steam and its near-infinite library of content. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but with over 30,000 titles filling the library of this mega-popular digital store, it might as well be.
Unfortunately, there’s always a downside to that level of popularity. Steam user accounts are popular targets for criminal scum. And they’re successful at it too. Online purchases and credit, libraries full of the latest games and prolific item trading communities — it’s not difficult to see why.
Wondering how to keep your Steam accounts safe in the face of all this? Then follow this all-in-one guide.
Why is it Important to Protect a Steam Account?
Because it has value, which means people will want to steal it.
Hackers are always on the lookout for easy ways to make a quick buck. People are willing to buy stolen Steam accounts with big libraries of games for cheap. So other people are willing to sell them.
Gamers spend years building up their game libraries, achievements, and tradeable items. Not to mention hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Yet, one mistake or failure to prepare could rob them of that.
Another big reason is to avoid having the account used for money laundering. Criminals have a history of using stolen Steam accounts to launder money via the buying and selling of in-game items. Valve does its best to curb this as much as possible, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Watch Out For These Traps
Strange Friend Requests
Pretty much anyone can send someone a friend request via the Steam Friends network. All they have to know is that account’s nickname or account-linked email address.
There’s nothing wrong with being friends with strangers on Steam. But be wary of anything they send via chat.
Unsolicited Messages With Links
Hackers have many ways they use to hijack steam accounts, but links are by far the most popular way.
These could come from both strangers and friends. Hackers often target a victim’s friends list to spread the virus further.
Don’t click on any links and don’t download any images as they can contain malware. If the message comes from a friend’s account, ask them whether they actually sent it first.
Messages from “Steam Support”
Cybercriminals pretend to be Steam support representatives or moderators. They contact users to ask them for their passwords. It’s a popular type of phishing scam and one of the most common Steam scams.
Keep in mind that Steam Support will never contact someone via the Friends chat system. They will also never send messages to users unless someone opens a ticket via the Steam Support system.
Level-Up Your Steam Security
Keeping a Steam account safe isn’t hard work, and it only takes a few extra steps and tools to get the job done.
Valve makes this process easy by offering security features like:
You can set up 2FA for a Steam account via Steam Guard in account settings. It is an important security feature as it keeps the account safe, even if hackers get your password. Users can opt to get an OTP code via email or the Steam Guard app.
Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator
The Steam Guard app is available for Android and iOS. It’s a 2FA login method, as well as a way to confirm trades and community market listings. It also has a few other useful non-security features.
Steam Account Recovery
Adding a phone number to a Steam account for recovery helps in case of hackers ever taking the account over.
Cybercriminals can compromise your email as well, but they usually don’t have access to users’ phones. So it’s a reliable backup in case you lose access to both Steam and your email provider.
There are also other security measures that you can use to keep Steam accounts safe:
Robust and One-of-a-Kind Password
Sometimes hackers get into Steam accounts by using passwords stolen in data breaches. It is often successful because people tend to reuse their passwords. That is a big NO for both Steam and any other online account.
If you can’t remember all unique and strong passwords, password managers offer a great solution. They allow you to create and store robust passwords for every account. All you have to remember is the master password to access the passwords of Steam and other accounts or apps.
Most PC owners know that they need to have a good antivirus or antimalware program installed. But there’s no harm in repetition.
Also, make sure your antivirus is a trustworthy premium program and not a free scam.
That’s a Wrap
Steam accounts are hot commodities and criminals dozens of ways to take advantage of them.
These aren’t always linked to the Steam interface either. So it’s vital to cover all the PC security bases.
Stay alert and don’t let the bad guys win. Unless you’re the bad guy in a video game, that is.